Brannon Braga thought people would feel sorry for the Vidiians

Photo: Star Trek: Voyager 25th Anniversary Special.. Image Courtesy Titan Comics
Photo: Star Trek: Voyager 25th Anniversary Special.. Image Courtesy Titan Comics /

Anyone who has watched Star Trek: Voyager will remember the Vidiians, the scary-looking race of aliens who were suffering from an incurable plague that was killing them. In order to stay alive, they would take the organs and skin they needed from anyone they encountered or could lure in. (See Star Trek: Voyager: Phage). Their desperation meant they were willing to kill to save themselves. And they didn’t apologize for it.

According to Brannon Braga, one of the Vidiians’ creators, the aliens were partially inspired by Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein. because he wanted people to be able to sympathize with them. Jeri Taylor, who helped create the race, said that “it’s impossible to make them completely evil because their motivation is completely understandable. If anything, it’s more scary if you realize that underneath that grotesque, deformed body there’s someone who was once young, strong and beautiful.”

In Star Trek Voyager: A Celebration, Braga believed that anyone could understand what was driving them.

"What I like is that they not villains—they’re tragic figures. They are desperate. It’s awful and they look awful. You feel sorry for these guys."

Most fans would disagree. Personally, I though the Vidiians were some of the worst aliens any Starfleet vessel had ever encountered. While the Borg are considered one of the most-feared aliens on Star Trek, at least they took entire bodies, leaving the human intact essentially. The Vidiians took what they wanted and left the rest behind. They had no concern for their victims, only for themselves, and the way they killed people was horrific.

Critics disagreed with Braga’s assessment. too, with Today’s Ree Hines saying the Vidiians ” traded any claim on compassion by harvesting organs from unwilling donors.”  Hines went on to say that the Vidiians’s method of extraction, which was transported technology, “upped the fear factor.”

While Braga meant for the Vidiians to be “tragic figures,” they couldn’t be anything but villains. Their lack of regard for others painted them as evil, regardless of the motives behind their actions. I can’t imagine anyone feeling sorry for them.

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